14 August 2013

Daring Cooks - Biryani

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

My usual tasting panel isn't fond of all things related to Indian cuisine. Coriander, cumin, chile, cardemom, ... all the flavours that are essential and characteristic to Southeast Asian cooking are frowned upon at the dining room table.  So whatever I cooked up for this challenge would be eaten by me alone and although many of the proposed recipes on the challenge sheet sounded appealing, in the end I chose to make the one which seemed the easiest to make : Fish Biryani.
The other elements that convinced me to give this biryani a try as opposed to the other ones, was the rather limited amount of ingredients required and the relatively small yield of the recipe. Considering I would be eating alone, the fish biryani ingredients list was easy to divide in two to keep two servings (one to eat immediately and one to take in a bento to the office the next day).

For the first attempt, I stuck to the recipe and after pouring in the coconut milk, I kind of winged the amount of water to add, as I couldn't see the rice level anymore.  Bad idea.  The dish ended up mushy with overcooked rice.  Although it still tasted good, it looked far from OK so I will spare you any picture of that culinary debacle. :o)

My second attempt came out much better after some tweaking of the recipe and that is the one I will be sharing with you today. 

Ingredients (2 large servings - enough for 3 too) :

* 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
* 1 tsp ground turmeric
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 green chile
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 onion
* 2 Tbsp clarified butter (as I couldn't find ghee)
* 1 cup  basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
* 370 ml coconut milk
* 300g white fish fillets, cut into 2cm pieces (I used cod)
* Salt

Preparation :

Blend the tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, chile, garlic, and half of the onion to a smooth paste.

Thinly slice the remaining onion and fry it in the ghee/butter over medium high heat until lightly browned. Stir in the rice and fry for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until the rice is half cooked .

Add the paste, fish, and salt. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until the rice is dry. 

Enjoy :o)

Dared to cook biryani, challenge accepted !


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